maybe...ain't never gonna happen. we know all of the popular words like respect, transparency, accountability, honesty and ethics, and can even spell them quite well but we apply them to others and rarely to ourselves. these are words that are demanding of the high road in others but really in the end, are a little too difficult and inconvenient for ourselves.
and there in lies the problem. we create this false and illusional world of rescue fantasy and hold ourselves up as the perfect example...but we are not perfect. we don't always tell the entire story. we don't always refrain from exaggeration, we don't always resist the urge to re-write history or fabricate it altogether. we don't always understand all of the different and odourous layers of our individual rescue onion.
there is such kindness and goodness in the very act of actually helping an animal but we lose sight of that goodness by petty school yard antics, by secret and underground competitions of popularity votes of who is the best and most knowledgable in the rescue arena. we want to be top dog, but we do not want to invest the time and effort and honest insight necessary to learn.
and in the end who cares anyway? not the animals. the saints guys are not out there going to other rescued animals..hey man..i am a saints dog so i am better than you. the saints cats are not on the internet pointing fingers and slagging other cat rescues so their rescue looks better to all. the saints barn guys are not running around making sure that everyone on the face of rescue knows that their rescue is the very best rescue and not only can no one else compare but shit, they should just stay home and not even bother to try.
the saints animals are too busy actually being alive to waste the time and energy they have worrying too much about every minut detail that is happening in some other rescue somewhere.
interestingly enough, i am not so alone any more. saints has an extensive and growing family that spend a great deal of time within our doors. it is not just me making the decisions, or providing the care. it is not just my own knowledge and experience guiding our ship thru the storms. it is not just me pondering the problems of meeting the animals needs. the saints army of caregivers is growing and their own knowledge and skill is growing at leaps and bounds. the saints army is becoming experts in their own right based on their experiences here.
and that gives me for the very first time in rescue some protection against those that shoot arrows of unfounded and ignorant accusations. those arrows are not just landing in me, they are now flying into the collective protective bodies and hearts AND brains and knowledge that surrounds the animals here. and when an unfair arrow hits them, it totally pisses them off. they don't like the person who shot it, any more than i do.
but what i like best about it all is this...at saints, we do sometimes try to practice kumbaya in rescue. everyone who invests themselves here, who takes the time to get dirty and learn thru the challenges and difficulties in hands on rescue...learns one really simple lesson. rescue is not easy, it is not perfect, it is not a fantasy...they learn the reality. and the reality is..they too are responsible to ensure they help the animals and do not place them in harms way. they too are responsible for ensuring that whatever they are doing is in fact helpful and keeps the animals happy and safe.
rescue is hard. it is full of hard days and hard decisions. it is full of mistakes made and lessons learned. it is full of hard realities that have to try to be soft. it is full of becoming rock solid hard inside and outside so the softness but intergrity and thinking necessary in rescue has real measurable meaning to the animals. it is not for weenies or dreamers. it is for those who can and do stand up and think things thru and accept the ultimate responsibility for everything that they do.
and it is so full of all of these things that we all know to the very core of ourselves that others who are trying to do rescue elsewhere, big or small, if they are intrinsically good, are struggling with these very same things. and if they are not, well they will either eventually learn too or they will slowly just fade away to become a memory or a story that they can tell of times gone by in their imagined golden glory days of when they were rescuers too.
kumbaya means a lot of things to a lot of people..to me it is not all warm and fuzzy..it is difficult and uncomfortable to find that place where respect of others resides. it is the ultimate learning of real respect and personal accountability..learning that our job is to walk the path of being the best that we can and having some respect and empathy for those on the very same journey but maybe a different road or at a different point in time.
kumbaya comes with the acceptence that any life well lived was and is difficult...not just our own.
more power (and respectful kindness) to us all in kumbaya...it doesn't come easy but it is well worth the effort to try.